639 kHz on Cyprus is already active again since July []. It carries (unless there has been a so far unnoticed change) between 1900 and 2100 UTC Al Arabiya FM, the new radio channel of the Saudi TV operation in Dubai (supposed to move in to Riyadh, but apparently that did not happen yet).

The enclosed recording from July 6 is the start of transmission. What can first be heard is the loop of “mourning music” (a piece from some crappy royalty-free production music library) that the privatized BBC World Service transmission operations, through all the changes of ownership, put straight up to programme start on audio circuits for transmissions of other customers than the BBC. It means that this 639 kHz transmission comes without any doubt from the BBC facility in Cyprus (there had been some confusing Tweeting when it started).

Al Arabiya uses it, or at least did initially so, for Sudan, as pointed out in the special promo material they broadcast during the first days. The regular service started with the programme feed that is also streamed at

Now the BBC: Things are muddy here in as far as they started in May new transmissions for Sudan on shortwave, confirmed as being still on air as recently as three days ago. But these slots no longer show up in frequency data for the winter season that starts tomorrow. A swift cancellation of these transmissions at this point, with the situation in Sudan not improving but to the contrary, would be surprising.

So it remains to be seen what the BBC is planning. The choice of frequency is no clue, 639 kHz is meant for North Africa but Gaza is so much south from Cyprus that this beam should cover it better than the
actual Middle East beam on 720 kHz that aims almost straight eastwards.
(See : 639 kHz antenna south of the building, 720 kHz antenna north of it.)

Kai Ludwig (2023-10-28)